UNIVERSAL BODY SUBSTANCE PRECAUTIONS
Prevention of Transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus,
and Other Blood-Borne Pathogens in Health Care Settings
Only blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and possibly breast milk have been
implicated in transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B
virus (HBV), and other blood-borne pathogens.
Blood is the single most important source of transmission of blood-borne
pathogens in health care settings. Infection control efforts must focus on
preventing exposures to blood.
Although the risk is unknown, universal precautions also apply to tissues and to
cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, peritoneal fluid, and amniotic fluid.
Precautions are used for all patients. (Reason: It is impossible to know which
patients are infected with HIV, HBV, or other infectious agents.)
Gloves are worn whenever the health care worker may come in contact with
blood, body fluids containing blood, and other body fluids to which universal
precautions apply. (Reason: Diseases can be carried in the body substances.)
Wear gloves at all times if you have any break in the skin of your hands. If you
have an exudative condition, such as weeping dermatitis, you must be evaluated
before working with patients and patient care equipment. (Reason: You may be
at great risk of contracting a disease; you might also spread disease.)
Change gloves after each contact with a client. (Reason: The gloves may be
Wash your hands after contact with any patient.
Wash your hands and skin surfaces immediately and thoroughly if they are
contaminated with blood or body fluids. (Reason: Proper washing will help to
stop the spread of infection.)
Wear a gown or apron when clothing could become soiled. (Reason: To prevent
spread of infection to yourself or others.)